Before there was the novel, there were the stories...

by Nan Hawthorne, who also writes under Christopher Hawthorne Moss, Books and Stories b ChristopherHawthorne Moss at

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Glossary from the Novel

You will find this glossary in the Appendices of the novel.

ælderman - a chief
ætheling - heir to the throne of a Saxon kingdom.

Bealtana - Celtic word for Beltane, a high sabbat that takes place on the first day of May or on the day precisley between the Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice.
belt knife - primarily used as an eating utensil, a knife worn by men and women at their belts.
bollix - testicles
boss - rounded metal piece on the front of a shield that can be used as a weapon itself or to deflect weapons.
bracas - long trousers, origin of the word britches
breechclout - cloth worn to cover the genitals, a type of underwear, also "loin cloth"
Breton - person from Brittany, or used as an adjective to describe something or someone from Brittany
Brezhoneg. - language spoken in early medieval Brittany.
brigandine - stout but flexible leather vest worn over mail or in place of mail often with metal reinforcement as armor.
Briton - Celtic person living in Britain.
Brythonic - language of the Celtic Britons

calín - colleen.
catarrh - inflammation of the mucus membranes affecting the respiratory system.
chapman - a peddlar of sundries.
corn - grain.
cess pit - pit dug for disposing of human waste. Incidentally, archeologists have found these rich sources of artifacts and other revelations from the Anglo Saxon era.
clouts - rags.
crenelation - battlements

earthwork - raised mound usually encircling a fortress, lending another layer of defense.

fyrd - militia or levy of common men called up to fight for their lord or king.

garth - garden or yard, sometimes between two fortified walls.

housecarl, body man, oathman, companion. - warrior who is sworn to a lord or king and attached to his household to fight for him.

leman - lover
Leon - province of Brittany.
Lundenwic - London.
lute - stringed instrument with a bowl-like body introduced through the Iberian Peninsula to Europe in the early 8th century.

ma chroide, macushla - terms of endearment in Irish Gaelic.
middens - garbage dump.
millrace - channel in which the current of water driving a mill wheel flows to the mill
morning gift - a gift given to a new bride by her husband the morning after their wedding. If she chooses to leave and divorce him and they have had no children, it is hers to take with her.

nithing - weakling.

palisade - wall of vertical timbers or stakes driven into the ground.
Paynim - a Muslim.

quirn - bowl used for grinding grain.

reeve - administrative and judicial functionary. A high, or king's, Reeve at the top level of administration and judiciary.

Sassenach - Irish Gaelic word meaning Saxon or English, usually used perjoratively.
seaxa - short sword used in close combat.
sennight - seven nights, a week
Sext - noon, or the fourth canonical office of the day.
siege. - battle tactic where one army camps outside another's stronghold to prevent them from escaping or receiving supplies or help
sou - broad wooden structure held over soldiers' heads to allow them to approach a target within bowshot of the enemy.
sunwise - clockwise. See also widdershins.

thegn - person granted land by an Anglo-Saxon king in return for military service, often including supplies of men for fyrd service. Also thane.
tunic - skirted shirt with or without sleeves, often belted, worn by men and women.

ward - position in fighting with a sword. Plough ward is holding the sword stretched out and own before you.
wicket - door set in a defensive wall near a locked gate that allows individuals on foot to pass through
widdershins - countersun-wise. See also sunwise.
Witagemot - meeting of the Witan.
Witan - council of the great men of the kingdom.

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About the author

Nan Hawthorne now writes under the name Christopher Hawthorne Moss. You can contact Christopher at .